Most of us are unfamiliar with the drug Fentanyl. But if you were a fan of Prince or Tom Petty, you know of someone who died as a result of taking this drug.
But it’s not just celebrities who are abusing this dangerous narcotic. It’s now becoming a nationwide epidemic and too many people are dying as a result.
In order to protect yourself and those you love from Fentanyl abuse, it’s important for you to understand what Fentanyl is and what the signs of abuse are. You should also know what it’s like to seek out treatment if you do think you have a problem.
To help you avoid getting hooked on this highly addictive drug, here’s your comprehensive guide to Fentanyl abuse.
Why Fentanyl Abuse is so Popular
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that’s incredibly powerful. It’s between 30-50 times stronger than heroin and 50-100 times more powerful than morphine. It also instantly creates a euphoric rush which your brain immediately wants to recreate.
It’s one of the reasons why it’s so easily abused. Another reason is when patients or users develop a tolerance and need to use more of the drug to get the same “high’ or effect as you used to.
Fentanyl is Intended for Those In Severe Pain
Since it works so well as a painkiller, it’s prescribed to those suffering from chronic pain, spinal injuries, cancer, and nerve damage. It’s intended to be used by those patients who have already tolerant to other opioid-based medications.
However, since it’s so powerful, it’s given in smaller doses and tends to only last for one or two hours. You can get Fentanyl in various forms from injections to patches and you can even take it orally as a tablet or a lollipop.
Fentanyl has been abused since the 1970s. Many people also mix the drug with cocaine or heroin and the street names reflect how dangerous this drug is with names like Flatline and Lethal Injection. It’s also easy to manufacture the drug with little technical knowledge.
Fentanyl Side Effects
It’s incredibly easy to overdose with Fentanyl. Even using two milligrams worth of the stuff is enough to cause a fatality. Those with a history of drug abuse or who have asthma, lung disease or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease should avoid taking this drug.
If you do have to take this drug for medical reasons, avoid taking any alcohol until you are fully off this drug as it causes serious side effects. Speaking of side effects, there are many of them and most of them are fairly serious.
Everything from mood changes to back pain and even seizures are common side effects when using this drug. Here’s a list of common side effects of Fentanyl.
- Back Pain
- Chest Pain
- Decreased Libido
- Dry Mouth
- Nausea and Vomiting
- Mood Changes
Abusing Fentanyl is even more dangerous to those who don’t already have a tolerance to opioids. In fact, the risk of overdose is multiplied for anyone who abuses this drug and doesn’t have a built-up tolerance.
Fentanyl Withdrawal Symptoms
If you’ve been using Fentanyl, either recreationally or even if you’re doctor prescribed it for you and you’re ready to get off the drug, you need to be aware of what will happen during a Fentanyl withdrawal.
Fentanyl withdrawal isn’t going to be easy. Many people experience depression, anxiety, and agitation due to how Fentanyl affected their dopamine and neurotransmitters.
Thankfully, as time goes by, the brain should reset itself and those symptoms will disappear. Fentanyl withdrawal symptoms will begin appearing around 12 to 30 hours after the last dose is taken.
Those using a Fentanyl patch can expect these symptoms to take a little longer (about one day after removing the patch) to appear as it’s an extended release medication.
You’ll notice that the worst of the withdrawal symptoms begin to appear around two to four days after you’ve last taken a dose of Fentanyl. Luckily within one week, you’ll notice that most symptoms begin to wear off.
However, be aware that your emotional struggles with Fentanyl will take a little longer to overcome. In treatment, you’ll receive skills and tools to help you handle your emotions without resorting back to using Fentanyl or other drugs to cope.
Common Side Effects of Fentanyl Withdrawal
Whether you take Fentanyl recreationally or with a prescription, most people experience the same withdrawal symptoms. Here’s a list of symptoms you should expect to go through.
- Abdominal Cramps
- Aches and Pains
- Chills, Fever and/or Goosebumps
- Cognitive Problems
- Gastrointestinal Problems including Diarrhea, Nausea, and/or Vomiting
- Memory Problems
- Mood Problems
- Runny Nose
- Watery Eyes
It’s important to seek proper treatment while going through your withdrawal. You need professionals who provide support, can help you manage symptoms, give you tools and skills to get through it and monitor you to ensure you’re safe.
Recognizing the Signs of a Fentanyl Overdose
If you fear you are abusing Fentanyl, it’s important to get help right away as it puts you at a high risk for having an overdose. If you fear you are experiencing an overdose, call 911 immediately.
First responders will most likely treat you with Naloxone to help save your life. Here are the most common signs someone is overdosing on Fentanyl.
Most people experience signs such as weak muscles and dizziness. They may appear to be confused and feel extremely sleepy.
Some may even lose consciousness and their heartbeat may slow down considerably. Their blood pressure will drop to dangerously low levels and they may have trouble breathing or stop breathing altogether.
If you see signs of a bluish tint to the nails and lips of someone you suspect is overdosing, don’t wait to get help. Even if the person overdosing doesn’t die, they may experience permanent damage to their body.
If you live with someone who uses Fentanyl either recreationally or even if it’s prescribed, it’s a smart idea to keep Naxolone on hand just in case.
Get Help Today
Fentanyl abuse is no joke. If you feel you are addicted, don’t try to wean yourself off alone. It’s too dangerous and you need additional support.
If you have insurance, we can help you determine the best treatment that your insurance provides for. Click here for your free review of your insurance benefits.